Searle, Chinese firm strike deal to make Covid vaccine in Pakistan

Published April 2, 2021
A local pharmaceutical company has signed a deal with a Chinese giant that allowed it to supply and produce an upcoming Covid-19 vaccine in Pakistan. — Reuters/File
A local pharmaceutical company has signed a deal with a Chinese giant that allowed it to supply and produce an upcoming Covid-19 vaccine in Pakistan. — Reuters/File

KARACHI: A local pharmaceutical company has signed a deal with a Chinese giant that allowed it to supply and produce an upcoming Covid-19 vaccine in Pakistan, an official announcement said on Thursday.

This has emerged in a letter written by M/s Searle Company Limited to the Pakistan Stock Exchange, saying it had concluded an agreement with China’s Livzon Mapharm Inc. for manufacturing novel coronavirus vaccine (V-01) in Pakistan.

“Searle Company has concluded an exclusive licensing and supply agreement with Livzon Mapharm Inc. for the Recombinant Novel Coronavirus Vaccine (V-01). The licensing agreement also covers the manufacturing transition of (V-01) in Pakistan,” the company said.

The communique suggested that the vaccine was in the final phases of its trial which suggested promising results. The company expressed the hope that it would add value to overall exercise against the pandemic.

During its trials V-01 has shown promising results

“The Recombinant Novel Covid-19 Vaccine (V-01) developed by Livzon has shown promising results in phase 1 & Il clinical trial,” the letter said. “The phase Ill clinical study will include multiple countries and enroll more than 20,000 subjects, with the aim to evaluate the efficacy, safety, and immunogenicity of V-01 programme.”

The company said that among the many new Covid-19 vaccine projects being developed around the world, V-01 had many potential advantages such as strong safety profile, high neutralising antibody titer in vivo, long durability, and easy to scale up for manufacturing. “Searle is confident that in the existing pandemic, the relevant authorities will take up the matter on [an] urgent basis & support for fast-track approval to carry out phase III clinical trials in Pakistan,” it added.

Financial market experts and health professionals believe that the growing health crisis and the immense need of better cure amid one after another wave of the coronavirus pandemic have emerged as fresh op­­po­rtunities for the pharma industry to capitalise on and explore business opportunities, mainly for healthcare and medication.

The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan has approved four vaccines for use in the country — China’s Sinopharm and Cansino, Russia’s Sputnik V and Oxford University’s AstraZeneca.

“It would be first of its kind if any of the pharmaceutical companies brings production authority of any approved vaccine,” said a pharmaceutical industry official.

Published in Dawn, April 2nd, 2021

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